Word of the Day Archive
Thursday September 19, 2002
1. A showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw.
1. Tastelessly showy; cheap; gaudy.
Yet the set is more than a collection of pretty gimcracks.
-- Frank Rich, Hot Seat
In those cities most self-conscious about their claim to be part of English history, like Oxford or Bath, the shops where you could have bought a dozen nails, home-made cakes or had a suit run up, have shut down and been replaced with places selling teddy bears, T-shirts and gimcrack souvenirs.
-- Jeremy Paxman, The English: A Portrait of a People
And as for coincidences in books -- there's something cheap and sentimental about the device; it can't help always seeming aesthetically gimcrack.
-- Peter Brooks, "Obsessed with the Hermit of Croisset", New York Times, March 10, 1985
The origin of gimcrack is uncertain. It is perhaps an alteration of Middle English gibecrake, "a slight or flimsy ornament."